And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. Mark 2:3-4
In Mark 2:1-12 we have the story of Jesus healing a paralytic. This particular passage is filled with images and examples that serve as guide for the evangelizing Church, but how often do we look to see ourselves and our congregations in this story? We are there, trust me.
As the news spread that Jesus was in the house, a large crowd gathered and pushed their way in making it impossible for anyone else to enter. The house was filled to capacity inside and surrounded outside. Just a few verses prior to this text, Peter finds Jesus in a quiet place praying and lets him know “Everyone is looking for you” (Mark 1:37). Judging by the crowds surrounding the house, it seems now they have found him, but the question bears asking, why were they looking for him in the first place?
When Jesus began his public ministry, he did so by preaching and teaching with an authority like none other. People longed to hear a word from God and through Jesus they did. Truly, in every sense his was the voice of God. To further demonstrate this authority, Jesus also performed many miracles, signs and wonders. In today’s text, Jesus declares forgiveness then demonstrates he has the power to do so by healing a paralyzed man. No wonder the room was packed.
Imagine your church as crowded as the house where Jesus was in our text. How did it get to be that way? Most likely members of the congregation spread the word throughout the community that God was alive and through the various ministries he was speaking in this place with the power and authority of the gospel. It’s no secret, by sharing faith, others are brought to the house of God in order to see for themselves the goodness and grace of our Lord. Yet, some will doubt and be reluctant to go.
In our text there is no suggestion that the paralytic had asked to see Jesus; his friends brought him to the house. There is no hint that the man who could not walk desired to encounter Christ at all costs; it was his friends who took extraordinary steps to make sure this meeting happened. They cut a hole in the roof, lowered their friend through the rafters and thus brought him to Christ. Jesus saw their faith, not the faith of the paralytic, but it was the paralytic that was healed. This is what happens when, through the faith of others, people are brought to an encounter with the risen Christ.
Is your church filled on Sunday? If not, why? We all know there are people in our communities who do not know the Lord Jesus. We all know there are people who would benefit from an encounter with the risen Lord of life. The paralytic’s friends went to extraordinary lengths that their friend would be forgiven and healed. How far are you willing to go to do the same for your neighbor?